[ in the press ]

Yale Alumni Magazine: Celebrity harpsichord?

ycmi-harpsichordYale Alumni Magazine | Mar/Apr 1015

Some time in the late nineteenth century, an unknown antiques dealer decided that this harpsichord wasn’t glamorous enough. It’s a rare 1770 instrument by Pascal Taskin, harpsichord maker to King Louis XV and head of the most admired workshop in the history of French harpsichords. Nevertheless, it got a makeover. Taskin’s name was allowed to remain on it—but “Restored by Taskin” was added, to suggest an earlier maker. Paintings were incorporated to imply that it once belonged to Émilie du Châtelet (1706–49), an important French scholar and Voltaire’s mistress from 1733 to 1740. The woman seen here on the inside of the lid is meant to resemble her, and the chateau to her right is Cirey, where she lived with Voltaire. MORE

Published May 20, 2015
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[ concerts ]

The Glorious Year 1685: Arthur Haas in recital Jan. 21

Arthur HaasThe Faculty Artist Series at the Yale School of Music presents harpsichordist Arthur Haas in a solo recital on Wednesday, January 21 at 7:30 pm.

1685 had far-reaching consequences for the history of music. Three of the most distinguished Baroque musicians and composers were born that year: Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frederic Handel, and Domenico Scarlatti. This recital will celebrate these composers’ birth year with Handel’s Suite in E Major, three sonatas by Scarlatti, and Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue.

In addition, Haas will perform music written in or around 1685 by Henry Purcell, Bernardo Pasquini, and Jean-Henri D’Anglebert. These composers comprise the first half of the program, with Purcell’s Suite in G minor, Z. 661; three pieces in G minor by Pasquini; and D’Anglebert’s Transcriptions de Lully. MORE

Published January 15, 2015
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Mario Aschauer lectures on equal temperament April 24

mario aschauerOn April 24, 2013 at 4 pm, Mario Aschauer will present a lecture called, “Has Equal Temperament Really Ruined Harmony?” The event takes place in Hendrie Hall, Room 205. Aschauer is a postdoctoral fellow at the Yale School of Music pursuing research for a book on Anton Bruckner’s compositional procedures.

Has equal temperament really ruined harmony, as R. Duffin’s Book of 2007 suggests? And if yes: how? This lecture will provide the theoretical and acoustical basics necessary to understand the fundamental problem of keyboard tuning and the manifold solutions theorists and musicians have come up with throughout the last four centuries of music history. There will also be a chance to listen to a harpsichord piece played in several historical temperaments.

Austrian scholar-performer Mario Aschauer has concertized extensively as a harpsichordist throughout Europe. His dissertation on German Keyboard Treatises in the Second Half of the 18th Century was published by Bärenreiter Verlag, Kassel, in 2011. For recent new editions of Schubert’s Moments Musicaux, Impromptus, and Late Piano Pieces, Mario developed fingerings and provided notes on performance practice. He received his training as a conductor, musicologist, and harpsichordist from conservatories and universities in Linz, Salzburg and Vienna.

This event is presented by the piano department of the Yale School of Music.

Published April 24, 2013
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Organs and Pianos at Yale, but No Dueling Keyboards

New York Times

SIMON PRESTON, an organist with a wit as dry as his talent is prodigious, had just concluded a solo concert in Yale University’s Woolsey Hall last November when he was asked to draw a broad comparison between the hall’s monumental Newberry Memorial Organ — on which he had rendered Bach, Mozart, Liszt and Olivier Messiaen to sustained applause — and the other great organs he had played.

“This one works,” he said.

Mr. Preston, whose 50-year career has included appointments at Westminster Abbey and Christ Church Oxford, was smiling as he answered the question. But for all its humor, his answer was no throwaway, either as an assessment of the prized and pampered Newberry organ or as a metaphor for Yale’s keyboard programming in general — a comprehensive and, at times, challenging series of organ and piano recitals.

By the time the season is over in April, Great Organ Music at Yale, the primary vehicle for producing organ concerts under the Institute of Sacred Music, is to have presented six concerts, featuring the work of composers from the late-Renaissance Dutchman Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck to the French modernists Marcel Dupré and his student, Messiaen.

At the same time, the Horowitz Piano Series, a parallel set of concerts run by the School of Music’s piano department, by the time it finishes in March, is to have presented eight shows, offering works by composers from Mozart to Martin Bresnick. A Yale faculty member, Mr. Bresnick has written a new piece that Robert Blocker, the dean of the School of Music, will perform in the season-closing show.

Mr. Blocker’s decision to include the Bresnick piece, “Extrana Devocion” — a processional inspired by a Goya etching — reflects a penchant for ambitious composition in the programming. The piece, as described by Mr. Bresnick in an e-mail, weaves “gentle sonorities, deliberate tempo and dreamlike realistic form” in an attempt to suggest the etching “in a vivid, unrestrained and compelling way.”

The airing of the piece, in the context of the program as a whole, also constitutes something of a rebuttal to those who argue that a bill of fare should not be entirely composed of miniatures. Despite its relative brevity — Mr. Bresnick put its running time at six and a half minutes — the piece will fit squarely among the set’s other selections, short works by Brahms, Schumann and another Yale composer, Ezra Laderman, among others.

Over the course of the series, extended works are to balance Mr. Blocker’s miniatures — among them the “Hammerklavier,” perhaps the knottiest of the late Beethoven sonatas, which Hung-Kuan Chen is to take on next month.

Advocacy of a sort drives most programming choices — and those in the piano series are no exception. Wei-Yi Yang said he became enamored of Schubert’s Sonata in A major as a student at the School of Music a decade ago. Now a professor there, he is to revisit the piece this month — a decision, he said, driven by a desire to promote Schubert’s later sonatas, which are “unjustly underrepresented in the context of concert programming.” Boris Berman, who directs the Horowitz series, said his decision to place Brahms and Schoenberg side by side in his season-opening recital last October was made in good measure to highlight the composers’ connections and paint a coherent picture of the Viennese milieu in which they operated.…


Published January 13, 2012
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